Controversial director Roman Polanski is getting political again.
The legendary — and legendarily controversial — director is focusing his gaze on the notorious 19th century Dreyfuss affair for his next film, simply titled “D.”
Polanski will direct from a screenplay by Robert Harris (who wrote Polanski’s 2010 film “The Ghost Writer”), with Robert Benmussa and Alain Sarde producing. “D” will soon begin casting and is tentatively scheduled to begin production in Paris by the end of 2012.
The infamous Dreyfuss affair was one of history’s greatest miscarriages of justice. In December 1894, French Army Captain Alfred Dreyfus, who was Jewish, was falsely accused of giving secrets to Germany and found guilty in a hasty secret court martial. Colonel Georges Picquart realized a mistake had been made only to then be framed for crimes and likewise sent to prison. Major figures publicly debated both sides of the case and Dreyfuss was re-tried several times. After 12 years of controversy and cover-ups, Dreyfuss was finally cleared of all wrong-doing, but the scandal had widespread political ramifications and highlighted the existence of high-level anti-semitism in France.
“I have long wanted to make a film about the Dreyfus Affair, treating it not as a costume drama but as a spy story,” said Polanski in a press release. “In this way one can show its absolute relevance to what is happening in today”s world – the age-old spectacle of the witch-hunt of a minority group, security paranoia, secret military tribunals, out-of-control intelligence agencies, governmental cover-ups, and a rabid press.”
While his latest film, “Carnage,” was underwhelming to many critics — and at the box office — Polanski’s oeuvre is loaded with such critically-worshiped films as “Repulsion,” “Rosemary’s Baby,” “Chinatown,” and “The Pianist,” for which he won an Oscar for directing. He’s in the news for his well-documented troubled past as much as he is for his films.